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NGA Releases Roadmap for States to Improve Interoperability

December 9, 2016
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The National Governors Association (NGA), via an Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)-funded agreement, has released a roadmap for states to improve interoperability.

Under a cooperative funding agreement between ONC and NGA, the National Governors Association aimed to identify potential steps that could improve the flow of electronic health information within, and among states. Today, ONC announced in a blog post, that under that agreement, NGA has released a comprehensive road map for states to improve interoperability: “Getting the Right Information to the Right Health Care Providers at the Right Time: A Road Map for States to Improve Health Information Flow Between Providers.”

In development of the roadmap, NGA interviewed more than 90 state health policy officials, health information organizations, vendors, provider organizations and payers, and convened 30 officials and stakeholders from the federal, state and industry sectors to discuss the problem. According to ONC, “The NGA roadmap helps states evaluate their own legal and regulatory privacy landscapes, identifies best practices states can learn from each other, and enables states to take decisive steps to improve the availability of electronic health information while simultaneously protecting patient privacy.  In addition, NGA also found that key market issues are negatively impacting whether health information exchange is occurring. For instance, NGA found that many opportunities remain for state policy makers and healthcare leaders to improve information flow by transitioning to value-based rather than fee-for-service health care payment, as reflected in the new Quality Payment Program announced in October to implement the bipartisan Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015.”

The roadmap was designed specifically for: governors, governors’ senior health policy officials, state lawmakers, state health IT officials, and state legislative counselors. The roadmap provides state leaders: a series of five steps to identify and address the major barriers to clinical information flow; legal and market-based strategies to address barriers and a high-level assessment of effectiveness of the strategies; state examples of successful strategies; and measures to evaluate progress.

In addition to publishing its road map, NGA has begun assisting several states in executing the road map’s recommendations, ONC said. NGA will issue a report on these efforts next year. Last year, of course, ONC released its own final Interoperability Roadmap laying out the steps needed to achieve an interoperable health IT infrastructure in 10 years.

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